Hello people, how are you. It is raining outside, and the clouds are grey and the sky threatening more rain. Added to that my knee is giving me a bit of gypp. So, not much to celebrate here, then! Why do I feel all excited and smiley in spite of this? Well, I caught sight of the Pantone colours for fashion for the autumn of 2019 today - and they are rich and vibrant, very me, very Caprilicious. Usually I look at the predictions and go "Pshaw!!", and carry on with my own colour combinations. I simply cannot seem to create in colours that resemble fust, must, or dust! I just get creative constipation and the ideas wont flow one little bit. Now rust is another matter, I love the oranges and burnt sugar colours that come from the oxidation of iron. This week I made a couple of necklaces in the Pantone colours for 2019, even before I knew what they were. Prescient, or what??
Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 colours reflect a new level of colour complexity; sophisticated and strong; a meaningful palette of colour that empowers and instills confidence. Displaying endlessly varied combinations, colour stories exhibit a mix of nuances, creating the feeling of freedom to create one’s own personalised identity.
Rich tones, indeed, and the words 'confidence and empowerment' are close to my heart as that is what Caprilicious sets out to do. Strong women who express themselves freely are in the majority in the Caprilicious Tribe, and the rest of is made up of ladies who use my jewellery as a sort of armour, something to aid them in their quest for self confidence. Either way, the word 'empowerment' is fitting in the context of statement jewellery in general and Caprilicious, most definitely.
Agate is a rock consisting primarily of crystalline silica, alternating with microgranular quartz. It is characterized by its fineness of grain and variety of color. Most agates occur as nodules in volcanic rocks or ancient lava in former cavities produced by volatile gases in the original molten mass. They were then filled by siliceous matter deposited in regular layers upon the walls. Agate has also been known to fill veins or cracks in rock. Such agates, when cut transversely, exhibit a succession of parallel lines, giving a banded appearance to the section. Many agates are hollow, when deposition has not proceeded far enough to fill the cavity, and in such cases the last deposit commonly consists of druzy quartz, with the apices of the crystals directed towards the free space so as to form a crystal-lined cavity or geode.
One of my customers picked up a graduated string of the most beautifully banded peach and cream coloured agate on a visit to Pompeii, and my instructions were 'do something with them.' Such an ambiguous instruction can be nerve wracking, but hey, I'm always up for a challenge.
The lady in question is quite exacting in her requirements and isn't keen on the asymmetrical vibe that Caprilicious brings to the table, but yet likes my jewellery. I generally have to remake a few elements of my jewellery to suit her but I'm always accepting of the 'customer's always right' (even when I think she's wrong) dictum so I go along with it.
The beads are graduated but the depth of colour does not follow the graduation. Another problem when attempting to make a non asymmetrical piece. I decided to follow the graduation in the bead size rather than the colouring and see what transpired.
The paler beads are almost cream and I sought to raise the colour quotient with a copper wire pendant made from one of Nicole Hannas designs. The addition of little gold tone seed beads and a matching clasp finished the necklace but the central piece looked dull when I added a creamy round agate from my stash, so I replaced it with blue/green crystals. I tried an orange tone teardrop, but this mango yellow bead seemed to do better in both raising the colour stakes and in coordinating with the main agate beads in the necklace.
The large central beads remained unused, so I put them into a simple piece on a memory wire so that the necklace sits close to the neck like a torque necklace. A contrast with gently faceted blue colour enhanced jade beads and silver tone spacers completes the piece.
Once again, the symmetry of the bead sizes had to be paramount rather than the colour variation.
As for the Unfinished Business from last week - it remains unfinished, although I've made one more of the beaded tubes during the week.
That's me for this week folks. Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello good people, wherever you are, thanks for joining me today. This week I've had a couple of days off work, after the rigours of entertaining friends for a few weekends on the trot. Our house is usually pretty quiet with just the cat for company. I like it that way, probably because I have to talk to people all day, every day at the day job, and it is nice to come home to peace and quiet. However, a few times a year we have an unaccustomed burst of activity and I thoroughly enjoy myself.
I started an art deco pendant and it is just now at the very fugly stage of its existence. This is the worst place to be in as it is hard to muster up the will to pick it back up of an evening. I'm not sure why I chose a most complicated design that will take the longest possible time to craft - there must be something masochistic in my genetic makeup. Added to that, I get bored easily and a design that is repetitive to say the least isn't the most inspiring of enthusiasm. So it's at the point where it ain't looking good, and it is definitely getting boring, and I'm counting the days till it will be finished, yet, I don't feel like picking it up to work on it. Very, very frustrating, indeed!
In between times, and while I was waiting for the Miyukis to arrive, I made a couple of simple little commissioned necklaces.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place,
Hello folks, is it August already? Omigawd, where, oh where has the year gone?! The summer has been rubbish this year - unless of course it redeems itself by giving us full on sunshine this month. One can but hope.
I was walking past the park near my house and saw a freak ray of sunshine light up the rainwater dripping from the shrubs - that was the inspiration for the necklace I made this week. Four strands of citrine beads, each one accented by a champagne coloured baroque pearl, with spacers from Greece - little plump electroplated ceramic square beads. I found the baroque pearls in Bangkok and couldn't resist them, each one is almost 1.8 to 2 cms in size, irregularly shaped, and quite beautiful.
A little clasp made of mother of pearl in the shape of a flower was a fitting finishing touch, don't you think?
I have been embroidering beads onto a piece of felt, and that will eventually become an art deco pendant - it isn't ready to be revealed yet. That's me for this week, folks. I have friends from school coming to stay with me this weekend so may not have the time to do much beading.
Have a fabulous week and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, how are you doing today. This week in the UK the weather God has smiled on us - I only hope he keeps on smiling for another couple of days - I'm about to host 25 people for my annual barbecue. If you didn't know already, junior doctors up and down the UK all move to their new posts on a rotation of at least seven hospitals in their trainee career, and there is now a fixed day for all this mayhem to occur - the first Wednesday in August! I urge you all to take care of your health and not go near a hospital in the first two weeks in August as it is pretty chaotic, with only the consultants manning the fort.
Anyway, our juniors leave us as well, and I've been hosting their leaving do for over 15 years now, so much so that everyone knows in the West Midlands that the barbecue in held in my little garden on the last Saturday of July.
This is a video making the rounds in some of the jewellery groups I'm a member of and I thought it was sufficiently interesting enough to post in my blog for you to take a look at - all this sounds like hard, not to mention dusty work! Oh Dear!
Somewhere in the cosmos, a star is reaching the end of its life. Maybe it’s a massive star, collapsing under its own gravity. Or maybe it’s a dense cinder of a star, greedily stealing matter from a companion star until it can’t handle its own mass.
Whatever the reason, this star doesn’t fade quietly into the dark fabric of space and time. It goes kicking and screaming, exploding its stellar guts across the universe, leaving us with unparalleled brightness and a tsunami of particles and elements. It becomes a supernova.
In 185 AD, Chinese astronomers noticed a bright light in the sky. Documenting their observations in the Book of Later Han, these ancient astronomers noted that it sparkled like a star, appeared to be half the size of a bamboo mat and did not travel through the sky like a comet. Over the next eight months this celestial visitor slowly faded from sight. They called it a “guest star.”
Two millennia later, in the 1960's, scientists found hints of this mysterious visitor in the remnants of a supernova approximately 8000 light-years away. The supernova, SN 185, is the oldest known supernova recorded by humankind. Death by supernova probably isn’t something we have to worry about in our lifetime, or our children’s or grandchildren’s or great-great-great-grandchildren’s lifetime. IK Pegasi, the closest candidate we have for a supernova, is 150 light-years away — too far to do any real damage to Earth (this is the point at which we must all cross your fingers, and squint for good measure, hoping that the scientists are right!).
Here's the Caprilicious version of a Supernova! Tiny golden seed beads have been embroidered around an agate slab nugget, along with black and clear AB coated crystal beads.
As you can imagine, it took ages to bead, and was all I could complete this week. I had my favourite Caprilicious woman and model come to stay over the weekend and we spent a couple of hours picking out jewellery for her to try on while I clicked away happily in the background.
This time, I thought I'd get her to show off some of my silver neck pieces. They are very different from the usual silver necklaces seen on other websites, and because of the silver, they have an intrinsic, investment value and are heirloom pieces that will hold their value in years to come.
Both of us enjoyed ourselves thoroughly - she changed outfits and make-up, sunglasses and hats went on and off, hair went up and down. She climbed nimbly onto chairs and stools so I could click pictures from different angles, and the photos turned out beautifully. Here are some of the best pictures from the one hundred photographs I snapped.
That's me for this week folks, have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next weekend, same time, same place.
Hello folks, and how are you today? I've been ever so busy at the day job and the last few weeks have been ... well, challenging. Lots of drama - health issues, injuries, yadda-yadda-yadda, etc., etc. Mostly not me directly, but close enough to demand my concentration and attention. Still does, to a large extent, though I'm trying to hone my multitasking skills. I'm not going to bore you with the details because, heck, who wants to relive the sh!t? Not me! Caprilicious has been the one constant whose presence has maintained my sanity.
I decided to pick a project for the week that wouldn't be too challenging, yet occupy my time and hands each evening, soothing and undemanding.
The Daughter of Arctic Spring or Arctic Spring 2
Last week I made what I consider to be one of the most beautiful necklaces I have ever created, and it sold even before I had a chance to post it on the website. However, it was so complicated that even though I wanted to make another one, I couldn't bring myself to go through the pains of birthing a similar piece. Soothing and undemanding it certainly was not. So I made a smaller version of Arctic Spring - in the same colours, with similar beads, but omitting the lengthy central pendant. In my mind I called it The Daughter of Arctic Spring!
Czech glass dagger beads, in a moonstone AB finish were used instead of crystal teardrops and by the time I finished, I liked it very much. It is a smaller statement piece for someone who doesn't really want to wear a huge gong around their neck.
I am really looking for a calm and relaxing weekend - my first totally free one after having worked for three consecutive weekends. I have a friend coming to stay and we will relax together, lazing a couple of days away while I heal my battered psyche.
Excitingly, I've been contacted on Instagram by a fashion designer in India who is keen on a collaboration - I will be back there in February 2020 and we plan a little show at a couple of his boutiques and he's even planning another in London. I'll tell you more about it as the story unfolds, no more to say about it for now.
Just to say that the earrings on Caprilicious are still on sale till the 1st of August. Quite a few of them have been picked up, so it's now skates on time, if you want the pick of the bunch.
That's me for this week, folks.
Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello, good people, it's lovely to talk to you again, and thank you so much for joining me. I've been working hard at the day job and was consequently looking forward to a weekend off, but alas, am having to work again due to sickness in the ranks. However, the weather report is good, so all is not doom and gloom.
I don't generally do sales, but I've found that I have too many earrings in my stash - quite a few were sold at the show at Leamington Spa, but I didn't have the room to display them all, and loads of them came back home with me, and they were most grumpy at being back in the large shoebox they currently live in. So just to give them a chance to be fostered to a good home, I've got them on sale till the 1st of August.
Idly flicking through channels on the TV, as you do when there's nothing interesting on, I saw a program about the Arctic Tundra. The Arctic is almost entirely covered by water, much of it frozen into glaciers and icebergs, and these are solidified freshwater. In fact, the glaciers and icebergs in the Arctic make up about 20% of Earth’s supply of freshwater. Most of the Arctic, however, is the liquid salt water of the Arctic ocean basin. Some parts of the ocean’s surface remain frozen all or most of the year. This frozen seawater is called sea ice which is often covered with a thick blanket of snow. The Arctic has the largest concentrations of mineral deposits – copper-nickel ore, platinum and rare earth metals, phosphorus, chromium, diamonds, silver, gold among others. In the spring, after the long, dark nights of winter, icicles melt and as the sun gets higher in the sky, the flowers of the Tundra begin to bloom, the majority of them are mosses, grasses, shrubs, and lichen, which grow close to the ground and can withstand the inhospitable climate. While I was researching this theme, I found a painting called Arctic Spring by a Swedish painter, Joacim Broström. His abstract of an Arctic Spring is beautiful, but made all the more interesting because he rarely uses paintbrushes, preferring instead to use household objects - pipette bottles, straws, toothpicks, plastic bags, and cardboard, among others.
So, this is my interpretation of an Arctic Spring
The pendant is a slice of agate, surrounded by a bezel of silvery seed beads and AB coated crystals, tipped with tiny seed beads in pink and green. The bail is a long strip of woven silver beads, dripping with silvery 'icicles', their tips melting into crystal teardrops. There are a few Czech marguerite flowers in pink and pale green, to signify the pink saxifrage which is the very first flower that comes up in the spring. The necklace is made of quartz shards, delicately colour enhanced in a pale pink and green. It is meant to be worn close to the neck so that the pendant gets maximum visibility.
I was so pleased that it was picked up a couple of hours after I posted it on instagram by one of my regular customers. The lady in question will wear it beautifully I'm sure, and get a great deal of pleasure from it.
By the time I'd finished Arctic Spring, my fingertips were sore and I had no mojo left, so that's me for this week. Have a lovely week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello readers, I'm happy to be with you this weekend - the show at Leamington Spa Pump Rooms and Art Gallery is done and dusted, and I can now chill out and relax over the next few weekends.
The show was great fun, as the weather decided to play ball and people came out in droves. The Pump Rooms are at one end of Jephson Park, and to my astonishment when I pitched up at 9am to set up on the Thursday, there were people wanting to come in and had to be turned away.
Admittedly they were early visitors to the park who needed to use the toilets, but I've never seen the likes of it - a queue built up by 10am and when the doors were thrown open at 1030, a bunch of mothers pushing prams followed, followed by a steady stream of visitors. There is a little cafe to one side of the foyer, and loads of people visited it for a quick cup of tea. Most of them stopped by our stalls and some of them picked up a piece or two. A couple of bus loads of holiday makers from Yorkshire were dropped off outside the Pump Rooms, and some more people were wandering around the shops having come from Hull to attend a family wedding.
On the last day, there was a Classic Car rally in the park, which had loads of visitors, who took the opportunity to nip in for a walk around and a bit of retail therapy. As far as Caprilicious was concerned, it was the best show in the UK - I took a variety of stuff with me and people were amazed by the different techniques I had used to make jewellery. There was a lot of appreciation for my stuff from the visitors and they were very complimentary, even if they didn't actually buy a piece. If I wasn't a naturally modest person, my head would have loosened itself from my neck and floated off into the stratosphere!!
I was exhibiting alongside a painter and a photographer, as you can see here. I took some of my larger pieces, but didn't expect them to sell, they were strictly there to pique the interest of passers by and beckon them to the show area. I had lots of modestly priced items on sale and chatted away happily about my favourite subject - Caprilicious. The people in Leamington Spa have a regard for artisanal goods, and time and time again I heard them say how much they preferred buying from the maker rather than an impersonal store. Music to my ears, really. I chirruped away happily talking about polymer clay and metal clay, wirework and all sorts, my jaw hurt in the evenings from all the talking and smiling I was doing.
Quite a few people came to look at the 'trail' of artists in Warwickshire Open Studios brochure - one gentleman, in his seventies, had even taken a train up from Buckinghamshire to do the trail. He said my jewellery was 'delicious' and that it was a good thing that his girlfriend wasn't with him as he wouldn't be able to tear her away. I suggested that he bought her a gift, but unfortunately she'd recently run off with a ukulele player (he then added that the musician had more money than him, as well as the ability to play the ukulele - obviously an irresistible combination ). Then there was the gentleman dressed in a steam punk top hat and a vial around his neck which on closer inspection contained three tiny skulls (he said they were some of his relatives). I reminded him that Angelina Jolie and her then husband Billy-Bob Thornton wore a phial filled with each others blood around their necks while they were married - his wife looked a bit alarmed at the suggestion! They were dressed so eccentrically, I'm sure they had a classic car parked outside in the rally but I didn't like to ask. Besides, I was too busy taking their pictures!
I had a couple of days off from work to put things away and calm my nerves. On the Tuesday I picked up a pendant I found on the internet from Lahore in Pakistan - it is a vintage pendant, originally from Afghanistan and suddenly a necklace seemed to come together, who was I to stop it?
A mehfil the Persian word for a gathering of poets and singers sitting around drinking wine and eating delicately spiced, aromatic food. In my romanticised version (I've probably watched too many Bollywood movies in my misspent youth!) a candle in a hurricane lamp is passed around from poet to poet, and whoever the candle stops in front of recites a poem or sings - a kind of 'spin the bottle' for Persian intellectuals in their version of a Roman orgy. I can easily imagine a woman sitting in semi darkness, wearing fine silks and this necklace and when the candle arrives in front of her, she raises her head and delivers the most beautiful poem. I wish I could be that woman, but as I am not a poet, and would die a million deaths if the candle stopped in front of me, I thought I'd at least make the necklace.
That's me for this week, folks. I've decided that I would like to try and empty the website of earrings so that I can make some more. I've dropped them all in price - all except the Shibori ones, so wander on down to the website and see if you fancy a couple of pairs. I've also reduced the silver earrings and the mixed metal earrings on the website until the 1st of August.
Have a good browse, and enjoy your week. I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place
Hello folks, how are you today? I have scheduled this post for Friday morning having pre written it, as I will be at the Art Gallery and Museum, Leamington Spa. I have been there since Thursday, and will be until 4pm on Sunday the 30th, so if any of you fancy a little trek up into Leamington, do come and take a look at Caprilicious and spend some time with me.
Leamington is an old Victorian spa town, where gentlefolk came to partake of the sulfurous waters as a cure for various ailments in the 18th century. The spa waters had been known since Roman times, and were rediscovered in the late 1700s.
In 1814, the Royal Pump Rooms and Baths, where Caprilicious will be exhibiting, were opened close to the River Leam. It is a grand structure and included the world's first gravity fed piped hot water system in modern times.
Leamington became a popular spa resort attracting the wealthy and famous, and construction began of numerous Georgian townhouses to accommodate visitors, and they still exist, all painted in Regency cream with black ironwork and white paned windows.
The function of the Royal Pump Rooms changed several times over the following years. While retaining its assembly rooms and medical facilities, around 1863 it was extended to include a Turkish bath and swimming pool. Spa water can still be sampled outside the building. The gardens are beautiful, there are plenty of shops and restaurants and the little town has a thriving cafe culture. We are looking forward to great weather over the next few days, so do try to make the trip, it will be worth it.
I spent a couple of days over the weekend in London, learning how to make extremely realistic flowers from air dry clay. I found Marianna on Facebook, her page is called Peony by Marianna. She is a Deco CLay instructor and we arranged that I should have a couple of days at her place learning to make flowers which hopefully I might be able to translate into polymer clay, and perhaps even metal clay. I learned how to make a variety of flowers in her penthouse flat overlooking the Thames in the Isle of Dogs. I've never been to that part of London before and couldn't believe how few people there were on the roads, and the fabulous views, stretching all the way to the Greenwich observatory from one window, and the Thames flood barriers from the next.
I was quite pleased with the little white flowers, they seemed to have the fragility of jasmine when the flowers fall off the creeper, slightly bruised, but still gorgeous to look at. However, Marianna smiled quietly and said I should preserve them as a reminder of how not to do it - I still love them, though. They have a vulnerability about them that pleases me, so I shall indeed keep them, albeit for a different reason.
That's me for this week, folks. I was laid low with sinusitis which I took ages to diagnose - my excuse is that it was at the wrong end of the body as far as my expertise as a doctor was concerned. I thought it was variously a headache, toothache, a problem with my glasses, eye strain, and finally, the neighbours cooking fish! It was only when I started to smell fish everywhere and had pain when I pressed my sinuses that I realised where the problem lay and got some antibiotics, which finally cured me. I try not to go to the GP if I can help it - and anyway, who goes to a doctor for all those trivial problems I enumerated earlier?
Have a fabulous week and enjoy the sunshine, I shall catch you on Friday, same time, same place
Hello, lovely people, how are you doing. It is the summer solstice and we haven't had a summer yet, I think they forgot to tell the sunshine. I for one have given up on the weather to amuse me and have got on with other things, in the main preparing for Warwickshire Open Studios at the end of June and binge watching Killing Eve on the BBC iplayer.
Luke Jennings's 'Codename Villanelle', began as a four-part novella published between 2014 and 2016, and has been adapted for the small screen by the BBC - it is called Killing Eve. The first series was written and produced by Phoebe Waller-Bridges of Fleabag fame. I loved Fleabag, but don't generally watch 'spy vs spy' type drama, but gave it a chance because of Waller-Bridges association with the project. I totally fell in love with Villanelle, the charismatic cold blooded psychopathic assassin played by Jodie Comer. It is very stylishly written and acted, and Villanelle is in turn spiky, sassy, funny, vulnerable and hard as nails. The obsession between the assassin Villanelle and her detective hunter Eve, was fascinating, and Mike and I binge watched both seasons of the show, all sixteen shows of it and we couldn't get enough. I hear that a third season has been commissioned, and can't wait for it to be with us.
I'm obviously not alone in falling in love with this psychopath - I found this short clip on YouTube of her being a crazy, kooky, childlike but chilling killer.
This necklace reminds me of her - it is spiky, fun and interesting, of branch coral in black and red, offset by a large electroplated quartz bead.
Of course, once it was made, I had to wear it and my little phone camera was pressed into use.
That's all I made this week, folks. Killing Eve and Villanelle swallowed up all my time, as well as curating my stock for the event at Leamington Spa at the end of the month. I'm off to London this weekend to learn a new, fun technique and I'll tell you all about it next time. Have a fabulous week, and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.
Hello folks, thanks for joining me again this week. Well, they're calling it a summer monsoon (I've never heard of a winter monsoon) here in the UK, there has been flooding in low lying areas, continuous rain, very reminiscent of my childhood in India when the newspapers reported a 'depression in the Bay of Bengal'. As a child I had a very literal imagination, and I thought millions of people were sad and crying in the Bay of Bengal for some reason, and the rain was their tears falling upon us. Just now, I can certainly tell you that I am very depressed and fed up in Warwickshire, although the garden doesn't seem to mind it at all and is smiling away.
I love the photograph in the 'ad' above - I took the picture and turned it into an ad for my show at Warwickshire Open Studios using an app called Canva. I told Danielle that she looked like 'The Lady of Shalott' from the poem by Tennyson. We read it at school, and it is such a romantic poem about this lady who is cursed to never look out of her window. She spends her life in a turreted castle weaving tapestry, using scenes of the world outside from reflections in her mirror. One morning she sees this beautiful man ride by in said mirror and cannot resist it. She takes a direct look at the fair Lancelot who is generally thought to be one of the most handsome men in literature, and 'the mirror crack'd from side to side' - she meekly went and lay down in a little boat and died while floating down the river. I think I might have fought death a bit in her place, and a bit of screaming, kicking and biting might have happened, but hey! that wouldn't have been quite so romantic. If you haven't read it, I commend it to you, and here's a link.
I must have been in a very romantic mood (see above) in the last few weeks, although Mike hasn't seen too much benefit from it. A Ghazal is a poem set to music in Urdu or Arabic originating in Persia. Once religious, they are now mainly romantic, and speak of unrequited or unfulfilled love. There are some really beautiful Ghazals I learned while growing up and I so wish I had a better singing voice.
I found this pendant online in a shop based in Lahore, Pakistan - it originated in Afghanistan. I've made necklaces with such pendants before, but usually use lapis or coral to give it an earthy, folksy look. This time I used titanium coated quartz nuggets and lost wax cast beads from Africa to add a bit of dull gold to the mix.
I love the way it came out. I can see a woman in this necklace, wearing loose skirts, drying her long hair, humming a ghazal as she adorns herself with jasmine and perfume while she waits for her lover - unfortunately, the lover is probably married and she is wasting her time waiting for him as he's gonna go straight back to wifie. But who are we to burst her bubble? Let her dream awhile yet!
Spirit of the Sea
I made this clasp from copper clay in my kiln a while ago, but I don't think it made it to the blog as I hadn't polished it to my satisfaction. I spent an entire evening shining it up recently and put it with a string of raw blue quartz nuggets and freshwater pearls. The clasp is meant to be worn to one side, but can be worn so that it acts as a pendant.
Have I used shades of blue all week because the weather is so lousy?? Who knows? Either way, I'm very happy with both pieces. Do you like them?
That's my lot for this week, folks, have a wonderful time and I'll catch you next Friday, same time, same place.